Maria Garcia Jackson, famous actress and singer
at the Palais married Jean Michael D’Sert and
became the center of Port Orleans’ social scene.
Jean Michael D’Sert

As Port Orl­eans grew in stat­ure, a group of civic minded indiv­iduals establ­ished a drive to bring culture to the city. Adding cultural integrity to Port Orleans meant developing the performance arts. One of the leading proponents of this movement was Jean Michael D’Sert, a self-made man who made a fortune selling sweets. D’Sert transformed his energies from sweets to suites when he constructed a theater and opera house fashioned in high society style.

The Palais D’Sert soon became the Mecca for Port Orleans high society. Within the splendid walls of the ornate Palais would play the finest symphonies, theatrical productions and operas. D’Sert thrived in the social circles that revolved around the Palais. He liked to considered himself the Port’s chief patron of the arts and reveled in the role he made for himself. It was at the Palais that D’Sert met and became infatuated with a beautiful actress and singer named Maria Garcia Jackson.

The marriage between the two was the social event of the year. The reception was held at the Palais and it was reported that the turnout was so large that the rest of the city seemed deserted. The D’Serts became the theatrical family of the Port Orleans. They raised a family and their children grew up in a household swirling with artists of every kind.

Twin sisters, Celia and Delia Jackson, opened a dress
shop called Jackson Square Gifts & Desires and sewed
the seeds of original Port Orleans fashion.

The two twin sisters, Celia and Delia followed their mother’s inclination into the theater but in a different aspect.

As small girls, the two could always be found in the closet of their mother’s bedroom trying on every costume they could find. They would mix and match different costumes to their own liking and parade around the house during social functions with layer upon layer of frilly-laced accessories draped over them. As they matured, they would remove portions of the costumes and sew their own creations together. At first, these outfits were fantastical creations with ten foot trains and wonderful headdresses. Eventually they began putting together some very interesting designs.

A dinner guest became so taken by one particular creation that she insisted on buying it for herself. Before long, Delia and Celia opened a dress shop that featured exquisite one-of-a-kind gowns worn at all the finest functions. Their dresses would eventually be admired from San Francisco to Paris. Fashion had finally landed in Port Orleans and was now being exported. It was the final jewel in the crown of the city’s crusade to be put on the cultural map and they had one family to thank for this achievement. Years later, when the Palais D’Sert became outdated, Celia and Delia D’Sert moved their dress shop to the theater location and named it “Jackson Square Gifts & Desires”. Named after their famous mother, Jackson Square Gifts & Desires soon became a popular stop for visitors sailing up and down the mighty Sassagoula River.

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